Biography of Aaron Copland

1162 Words3 Pages

Aaron Copland was born November 14th 1900 in Brooklyn, New York. He is the youngest of five children to Sarah Mittenthal, his mother and Harris Copland, his father. He had two brothers, Ralph and Leon and two sisters Laurine and Josephine. As early as the age of nine, he began making up songs on the piano and two years later, his older sister Laurine began giving him piano lessons. In 1914, Copland began studying with his first professional piano teacher, Ludwig Wolfsohn in Brooklyn, New York. His first public performance as a pianist was in 1917, one year before his graduation from high school in Brooklyn. Upon it’s grand opening in 1921, Copland attended the American Conservatory at Fontainebleau, a music conservatory designed to introduce the best American composers to the French traditions of teaching music, composing and performing.
In 1927, Copland’s first major performance as a pianist took place with his “Piano Concerto” featuring Russian conductor/composer Serge Koussevitzky and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Over the next twenty years, Copland would achieve many feats including teaching at Harvard, writing a film score for the documentary The City, and winning a Pulitzer Prize in Music for Appalachian Spring a ballet composed in 1944. Interestingly enough, in 1953 he became caught up in the anti-communist hysteria and was subpoenaed to testify at the infamous McCarthy Congressional hearings, causing many of his musical engagements to be canceled. Without implicating any of his friends or colleagues, he competently navigated the questions asked of him by the committee, all the while sticking to his own personal principles and opinions on issues like socialism. One important milestone of his career happened in 19...

... middle of paper ...

...s work more then anything represented a sound that was quintessentially American, and displayed a uniqueness never heard before in modern American music. Known as “The Dean of American Composers” Aaron Copland is regarded as one of the best and most well known composers of the 20th century. Despite being a confrontational modernist, Copland eventually found himself established as the ultimate American populist. His work, although unique to the time it was created in is relatable and easy enough to listen to that it still holds up today when heard by the average music fan. It’s likely his songs have inspired those in the country, jazz, blues, and folk genres if not at least served as a guide to aspiring musicians and songwriters in those fields and it is likely his work will continue to inspire those who live to create original works of music for years to come.

More about Biography of Aaron Copland

Open Document